HEbrews… What?

Coffee, tea, I love ’em!

God continues to work in us does He not?

So what good is HE brewing up in us?

I’ve blogged about this before and surely will again- but years ago I
had a chat with a Christian leader who simply did not believe that
there was any sort of cooperation involved in following Jesus or in
pleasing God the Father.

I took care to explain I wasn’t talking about earning salvation, but
rather growing in grace via knowledge of Jesus which comes by
relationship and actual application of God’s Word in one’s life. If
spiritual growth were somehow automatic a great many warnings and
promises in the New Testament alone would cease to make sense.

To be clear, I’m not talking about law, legalism, people lording over
people or living in condemnation, constant and un-ending focus on self
and whether or not we’re doing everything to the letter of the law. NO
one can nor should live like that. God Himself does not call us to
live like that.

While God’s grace and mercy trumps, the idea of a Christ-follower
having the ability to -not- follow, the concept of a one-sided love
affair (in essence, God loves me, I don’t concern myself with any sort
of practical loving Him in return) is real enough in plenty of
people’s lives that we need to discuss it from time to time.

Let there be no confusion, this is not about salvation rather it’s all
about a core part of a truly -growing- spiritual life, that of the
believer following (which means movement, action…) her/his Lord by
and through (note, not our own strength or mere determination) the
power of God the Holy Spirit Who seeks to FILL us, not only reside
-with- us.

Verses such as Acts 5.32 come to mind: “And we are witnesses of these
events, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey
him.???

Classic pentecostals and charismatics need to consider that being
filled with the Holy Spirit entails a surrender and more than a
one-off prayer or occasional experience complete with goosebumps and
supernatural evidence. Love in action IS the evidence. Sometimes
there’s far too little of that among Christians of all streams and
theological positions, no?

Hard-core, imbalanced Calvinists need to face the language (yes,
original biblical Greek, etc. in context) that over and over again
makes clear statements about our choices to move or not move toward
Him and His desires. Such phrases fill the New Testament. Why? If we
have nothing to do with spiritual growth, the New Testament is clearly
laced with fables. Not so.

This is not a matter of automatic anything.

This morning another devo came my way via email which focused on
Hebrews chapter 12. Indeed, I like to avoid this chapter myself
sometimes!

There I read “… He [disciplines us] for our benefit, that we may
share His holiness.” Hebrews 12.10b

Discipline? If we are assured literal perfection in THIS LIFE, prior
to eternal life with our Lord, why in the world (get it??!) would the
Spirit lead the writer of Hebrews (note, written to a vast Church)
about one of the most typical realities of a genuinely Christian
spiritual life, that of experiences through which God DISCIPLINES His
children? The discipline being discussed is not done-deal, it is
present tense. Not “He did it” but “He DOES it”.

The context is clear, the actual moving of the Spirit is also clear-
we aren’t fully disciplined yet, but difficulties are sometimes, not
always but often- part of His chosen process through which to make us
more like Himself, to “share His holiness.” Well I thought that
according to plenty of verses in the New Testament that I was already
holy: holy by virtue of Jesus on the cross for me, by HIS work and
power, by His proclaiming me (the guilty) “not guilty”, forgiven,
accepted in the beloved and holy due to His indwelling me and my life?

All of this is true, He DOES impute unearned, un-worked for, unmerited
holiness into each of our lives as we in saving faith trust Him. True,
true true, thank God!

So what’s with this “that we may share His holiness” in context with
“He disciplines us in order that”?

Growth. Personal spiritual, relational (to Father, Son, Spirit)
growth! We’re not literally perfected/sinless, not yet, not in this
life.

The tension in the “now AND not-yet” isn’t easy to live with, so we
have plenty of Bible teachers, scholars and theologians who work very
hard at answering this tension with an “either-or” approach.

Salvation is mine / work out your salvation… Jude tell us “to you
who are kept” AND “keep yourselves in the love of God”. Over and over
the Word of God is balanced as very few if any (including me)
Christians are in what we believe, preach, teach and write.

We seek closure, but it ain’t over ’til it’s over!

I think careful examination of what it means to accept the Spirit
bringing/allowing difficulties into our lives so that we may become
more like our Lord is a huge need amongst believers.

Consider our Lord: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert
to be tempted by the devil.” (Matthew 4.1) Wow. But God knows exactly
what He’s doing, what we are able to handle (with His power) and how
we and others will benefit by such experiences, difficult as they are
as we go through them.

Discipline is painful, Hebrews makes no excuses about that nor does
the book ignore or soft-peddle it.

Do I (Glenn) enjoy the personal crosses, the disciplines that come my
way? Of course not! Do I enjoy the work of the Spirit growing me up,
producing more of His fruit (Galatians chapter five) and therefore
more of the character of Jesus in my life? Yes, the peaceable fruit of
righteousness that comes from such training is good, valuable and one
of the marks that I am actually a Christian, not only in mind but in
action.

OK, do -other Christians- and indeed unbelievers appreciate all this
via my life? What a question! The more I love, the more I’m willing to
sacrifice, the more I can reflect Jesus in my relationships with
others the better chance they have of truly encountering God and not
merely Glenn. Whew… what a contrast!!

God help us to grow in grace- and recognize that growing up in
holiness, in the very nature of our God is part of “why” He
disciplines us!

Lord give me/us the grace to surrender. Help us to stop seeking to
avoid -Your- disciplining, molding hand of grace.

You’re the Potter, we’re the clay. Brew up what you like in our lives,
it’s always SO much better than what we brew.

And to those reading- thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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2 thoughts on “HEbrews… What?

  1. <html> <head> <style><!– .hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { font-size: 10pt; font-family:Tahoma } –></style> </head> <body class=’hmmessage’><div dir=’ltr’> THANKS&nbsp;[GLENN] YOU SOUND AS IF /YOU HAVE A JIMMY SWAGGART BIBLE -LIKE I HAVE/GREAT INSIGHT SOUNDS GOOD BROTHER/&nbsp;GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY<BR>&nbsp;<BR> <DIV></DIV></div></body></html>

  2. Why in the world would ANYONE possess a Jimmy Swaggart Bible? It, like every other "Study Bible," is filled with error, pre-supposition, misinterpretation, and heresy. 99% of all "Study Bibles" are Dispensational. ALL these "Study Bibles" teach you what the AUTHOR believes–NOT what the Scriptures teach. That’s the problem with any education. All it does it teach you to think and believe what the author thinks and believes, rather than what the truth is. "Study Bibles" are also vanity for the authors who put them out. Their notes should not be side-by-side with the Bible, but in a separate book of their own for the fools who want to purchase them and believe the erroneous content. The Bible should be nothing but the Bible. You want notes, grab yourself a couple decent commentaries.

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